Cannon Falls School Board to hear referendum, principal proposalsCannon Falls school officials say district finances are holding up, but the outlook appears troubling.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Cannon Falls school officials say district finances are holding up, but the outlook appears troubling.
So troubling, some believe, that a referendum effort is again under way.
Cannon Falls School Board members on Monday will hear a proposal calling for an infusion into the district's coffers.
If approved, the referendum proposal would send Cannon Falls voters to the polls for the second time since 2007, when a building referendum and an operating referendum were approved.
An ad-hoc committee is recommending the board consider raising per-pupil funding by $300 or $400.
Supt. Todd Sesker called the move proactive.
He said special education costs, inflationary increases and decreased state aid will mean "the district taking a nosedive" once the current referendum expires in 2013.
"We'd have to pull more out of the general fund," Sesker said.
Current district budget reserves are at 7 percent, which Sesker said indicates "we're doing well financially."
But if funding remains static, he predicts the district will enter statutory operating debt, a financial condition that requires districts to seek remedy through the state's education department.
"The last thing that this board wants to do is to go into statutory operating debt," Sesker said.
He admitted that some voters might be wary to another referendum after agreeing to open their pocketbooks less than three years ago.
That two-part referendum funded $21.2 million worth of new district facilities and renewed the existing $500 per-pupil funding amount.
Sesker said that if voters were to approve the $300 increase, it would have a $58 annual property tax impact on a $100,000 home. The tax impact under the $400 per-pupil increase would be $77 annually.
He did not know how long the proposed referendum would last, but estimated it five to 10 years.
Board members on Monday will decide whether to move ahead with a referendum and, if so, how much funding to seek.
Sesker said the proposal could see final approval at the board's July 19 meeting.
The board on Monday also will consider whether to fill a principal vacancy, created after Steve Fredrickson retired. Fredrickson spent the last five years as the district's 6-12 principal.
"I believe he will be missed in the district," Sesker said.
A teacher-based committee forwarded the recommendation to fill the position. If the board rejects the move, other district administrators will handle the position, Sesker said.
"We'd divvy it up," he said. "I'm hoping that (the board is) going to be supportive."
The principal position pays a starting salary of $84,541, Sesker said.